The University of Arkansas (U of A) began the construction of the national Multi-User Silicon Carbide Research and Fabrication Facility (MUSiC). This facility will enable the government (via national laboratories), universities, and businesses of all sizes to develop silicon carbide prototypes – an opportunity that is currently not present in the US. Moreover, it will enable low-volume prototyping for high-volume manufacturing, whilst accelerating the technological development of semiconductors. Another goal is to bring back semiconductor manufacturing to the US.
As stated by Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at the U of A, with MUSiC, the university could “begin training the next generation at a variety of degree levels to provide well-trained and educated talent for onshoring semiconductor manufacturing that domestic suppliers offshored in the late 90s and early 2000s. Our training will be equally applicable to silicon and silicon carbide and other materials.”
This facility will produce microelectronic chips made from silicon carbide. In addition, it will enable research, prototyping, testing, and fabrication of semiconductors in a single location. The facility will be located next to the National Center for Reliable Electrical Power Transmission at the Research and Technology Park, totaling 18,600 square foot, 8,000 of which will be clean rooms for fabrication and testing.
Chancellor Charles Robinson said “This is truly a special day in the life of the University of Arkansas,”, adding that “This building, it really doesn’t need to be hyped. It is a very important building, and you just know it, important for our university, important for our state, important for our nation.”
Construction is expected to be completed by January 2025. The financing is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with $18 million back in 2021, as well as the Army Research Laboratory. Besides, the U of A also has the first Energy Frontier Research Center in Arkansas.
Article & Image Source: University of Arkansas